I only meant to spend an hour or so out on the drive today, but I ended up out there and working hard for about five hours. Finished off my wooden crossmember jig and put the rear chassis on axle stands to keep it still. In order to keep the chassis still I had to drop the rear leaf springs off, which was hard work. Finally, just before it got dark, I got the grinder out and chopped the rear crossmember off.
The leaf springs weigh a metric ton and are covered in surface rust. Once I’ve found replacements for all the nuts and bolts that hold them together I’ll split them apart and oil them as I’ve previously mentioned. I’ll need new U bolts because I chopped them off with the grinder. New bushes, nuts and bolts will also be on the shopping list.
Chopped! Went through two hacksaw blades, three cutting disks and most of the skin on my fingers getting it off. I also burned my scalp with sparks from the grinder! The crossmember itself is made of 3mm steel and it very very tough. It’s made me reconsider my plan to get 3mm steel for the patching I need to do. It’s impossible to bend it without some heavy machinery – even the lump hammer makes a meal of it.
Two crossmembers. I think I’ll use the top one! Need to detach the steps, convoy light and trailer socket from the old one, then bung it in the bin. Two grinding wheels and a knackered hacksaw blade are included in the photo so set the tone.
The Duke’s looking quite sad at the moment. No roof, no tub, chopped up chassis – more bits missing than replaced. Hopefully this will be the lowest point of the project. From now on things should start getting refurbished, replaced and reinstalled.